Jacob's EPIC Thanksgiving Debut!

It all started with Aunt Ginny’s threat to go out to dinner or order in Thanksgiving dinner!! Jacob was appalled and took on the responsibility of cooking Thanksgiving dinner for 13 people!! Our Thanksgiving was at Pop Pop and Grandma Ashman’s house in PA (Jacob’s grandparents).

Once he took on the responsibility, he did not take it lightly. 1.5 months before Thanksgiving, I became his guinea pig and had to try and taste all the food he was concocting for his epic Thanksgiving debut.

It started with one decent sized orange gourd from the farmer’s market. This gord turned into a squash pie and squash soup, but I would call the soup, “dirty city water.” I did not sugar coat my food critiques because I wanted him to blow away the recipients of his fine cooking on Thanksgiving day.

He repeated this process to perfect the squash pie and soup. His next experiment was turning the traditional stuffing into his own special stuffing with cranberries, apples, rye bread served in a scrapped out GOURD turned into a bowl. My parents tried out the stuffing and they loved it and loved the presentation of the food in the gourd! He decided to put that dish on the menu and also decided that all the food would be served in gourds and not on serving platters.

Over the 1.5 months there were not just a couple of gourds, squash and pumpkins that appeared in our kitchen, but a plethora of beautifully colored gourds which over took our every inch of our refrigerator.

Jacob started experimenting with pumpkin pies and peanut butter pies. Unfortunately, I tried each one and I think my waist line was affected. I tried to convince friends and family to eat all the pies so I wouldn’t have to “suffer” anymore! Each pie got better and more delicious each time.

He decided to get a 14 pound bird from Trader Joe’s to test out his olive rub, traditional stuffing, and to see how long to cook the turkey. Let me tell you, IT WAS FRICKI DELICIOUS!!!

His next experiment was the beer greens (which I am not a fan of). He was inspired by Emeril’s recipe which was shown on the Green Chanel. His beer greens consisted of smoked turkey necks (for flavor), kale, mustard greens, collared greens, various spices and beer.

Thankfully, Jacob’s parents, Ernie and Linda, came for a visit and took some of the gourds down to Maryland and relieved some space in the fridge, but there was still some to bring down to MD/PA from MA.

Not only did Jacob slave over the stove, go to farmer’s markets to find the perfect gourds, research new dishes to add to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but also organized who was going to do what in the kitchen with a WIKI!!! He really took on his responsibility as an executive chef to the next level. His cousins live all over the US. He got his cousin from Cali to prepare, his mom and dad to contribute and all the cousins were on board with making the Thanksgiving dinner a success. The grocery list was on the wiki, the menu was added on to every day with each new discovery that he was successful cooking. He was really wanted to make this meal perfect.

Once we got to MD, Jacob and his dad went to the grocery store to finish off the shopping (@ 10:30pm). We woke up the next day and packed the car to get to PA by 11:30am. From 11:30am-6pm, there was non stop preparing, cooking and hilarity in the kitchen.

Jacob was a little flustered since he didn’t really know where to begin and everyone was eager to help. Once we got into a groove, we were on the move to make the dinner amazing. Alicia (Jacob’s sister) and I were on the chopping and prep station. Ian and Shiva were on the squash station. Shiva cutting the tops and Ian scrapping out all the contents for the pumpkin pie. Jacob was finding different pots and pans and getting everything else prepared and ready to be cooked.

Jacob told me to put the chestnuts in the oven and so I did but they were not cooking because I forgot to turn on the oven two times. The third time we turned on the oven, but the chestnuts were not prepared properly (we did not poke holes or put an x in them). They started exploding and we had to run outside with them and they continued to explode. Ernie (Jacob’s dad) came up with the solution to use a vacuum cleaner to clean out the exploded chestnuts in the oven. Probably the funniest part of the whole day!

We continued on until 6pm and a beautiful dinner was served all in GOURDS and NOT on serving plate. Everything that Jacob prepared for over the past 1.5 months was served and everyone was so pleased. It was an excellent and beautiful gathering of family and food.

When we were all done at 8pm, we all wanted to just go to sleep from all the craziness and business of the day…oooo and from stuffing our bellies with all that delicious food and yummy turkey. Jacob’s debut was absolutely successful and so-o delicious! A beautiful Thanksgiving had by all!

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